Single Reviews: March 2007

 

The Needles – Girl I Used To Know (Dangerous Records) 26/03/2007

It seems very odd to release a single now from an album the band put out six months ago, but apparently the lead track and “Dead Or Alive” are remixed versions of highlights from “In Search Of The Needles”. Whilst it’s still an infectious, Costello tinged, party popper of a track, I can’t help feeling that this version lacks the raw energy of its superior original. Having said that the guitar solo is weird and wonderful and adds depth to the arrangement, so maybe it WAS all worthwhile after all. The one new track included here though - “Only If You Want Me” – is a lovely, tinkling pop-rock ballad that is worth forking out the money for on its own. 7/10

Tone E

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Archie Bronson Outfit - Dart For My Sweetheart (Domino) 26/03/2007

T: ABO are one of the most original bands doing the rounds at the moment, and I love the way they've melded classic rock with modern day art rock. It sounds like the theme tune to a Sergio Leone Western if it had been directed by Quentin Tarantino. Watch this band, I have no doubt they're going to do big things.

N: As the last single we've reviewed today, certainly this overshadows all others. It might be said that if you buy only one single this year, buy this one. 10/10

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SixNationState - Where Are You Now? (Jeepster Recordings Ltd) 26/03/2007

T: A tumultuosly uplifting track in the vain of The Libertines. In fact, had The Libertines continued with a new lead singer (hmmm isn't that Dirty Pretty Things?), they may have sounded something like this. Anyway, this is an enjoyable bootstomping romp that could well propel the band closer to their dreams.

N: For me I'm afraid it's the sleeve that outweighs the single itself, but like my colleague, "a bootstomping number" that is sure to find its niche. 7/10

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Five O’clock Heroes – Skin Deep (Glaze Records) 19/03/2007

The strange thing about this is that when I interviewed frontman Antony Ellis some time ago, he told me that “Skin Deep” wasn’t going to be on the album, dor it was, at the time, just the b-side to “White Girls”. Looks like I wasn’t the only person who liked the track as much as the latter single though, as now it’s been put out in its own right. It’s a rabble rousing number reminiscent of The Ramones at their rampant best – how’s THAT for a bit of journalistic alliteration then – and a fine indication that Five O’clock Heroes are a band with their best days still to come. It’s a pity the b-side, “Every Night, All Night Long”, sounds like somebody’s dad picking up a guitar drunkenly at a party and inflicting it on the hungover congregation at 3 in the morning. Ah well, at least they’ve got it the right way round this time! 9/10

Tone E

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The Bird And The Bee - My Fucking Boyfriend (Regal) 19/03/2007

T: There's something about this track that really grates on me. Perhaps it's the fact that it seems to last for about nine years, or maybe it's just that it's giving me a headache. Whatever the case, it's making me grind my teeth now. Oh yeah I ought to point out that it's a kind of jazzy dance thing with lyrics not dissimilar to Sarah Cracknell, but nowhere near as pleasing to te ear. In fact, I'm starting to believe that Inara George has got a personal vendetta against men and has devised a sound akin to those high pitched squeals that only animals can hear, and fine tuned it so only we men can hear it. I feel like stabbing my eyeballs out at this moment in time.

N: Well hold your final judgment until we hear the album, but as for the single, how on earth are they going to produce a clean - or radio friendly - version of this single? The chorus is the whole point. Otherwise a pretty jaunty number, electronically driven. It's just that chorus.

T: Can I just add that I fucking hate it?

N: No, you're just copying them now... 4/10

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Buy: [Vinyl]
 

 

Maximo Park – Our Velocity (Warp Records) 19/03/2007

On first listen, this is an outlandishly bold move by Paul Smith’s boys, being about ten times harder and faster than anything from debut album “A Certain Trigger” and it’s difficult to make your mind up whether it actually suits the band or not. It’s certainly a grower though, and it’s nice to see them making some necessary progress that stops them being labelled a one trick pony. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can keep this up for an entire album. Anyway, I doubt if your granny will like this one too much – especially if she’s in the “…but you can’t dance to it!” school of thought – and I think that’s a good yardstick to use as to whether a band’s past its sell by date or not. Maximo Park are clearly not ready to put dumped in the “Reduced To Clear” section just yet. 8/10

Tone E

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Buy: [Vinyl]
 

 

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Strange Form Of Life (Domino) 19/03/2007

T: He's definitely one of the jewels in the crown of the Domino catalog, is our Bill, and once again he's chosen to release a searing, haunted beauty of a tune, though I can't help thinking that perhaps they're milking "The Letting Go" a little too much at this point, being the fourth single lifted from the fine long player. That said, there are three further tracks included from the Daytrotter session of August 2006 here, and their stark, heartfelt beauty makes the acquisition of "Strange Form Of Life" worthwhile.

N: A quite emotive single taken from a largely missed album. I get the feeling this may be discovered in twenty years time, and the artist proclaimed a genius. 9/10

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Bonde Do Role - Solta O Frango (Domino) 19/03/2007

T: I guess you might like this if you were into Totoe Coelo's "I Eat Cannibals" or Natasha's version of "Iko Iko", but for those of us who are not certifiably insane (yet), surely it's preferable to sit in your bedroom sawing your feet off with a rusty chisel. I like cheese in moderation, admittedly, but this is a whole week's worth of fondue, and as we all know, that can only make you sick.

N: A very lo-fi tune in the vain of the strongest cheese available, I guess released in the hope that this might capture the imagination...of who? The clinically insane? And I bought Natasha's "Iko Iko", so I guess I'll be heading out to the record shops now.

T: But only if it's in the bargain bucket eh? Tightarse. 2/10

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The Hours - Love You More (A&M) 19/03/2007

T: I like the quote from Mojo that The Hours "create music from the inside out", as it does indeed appear that the band have done some deep soul searching in order to concoct the beast that was "Narcissus Road". There's no doubt that "Love You More" is one of the standout tracks on their impressive debut, and they've enough variation in their arrangements to set them apart from the modern day indie crowd they could have so easily been lumped in with.

N: I really like this band. They are producing something that comes across as - if not unique - fresh and exciting. This was my favoured track from their recently released "Narcissus Road" album; the lyrics were spot on and the music sharp and to the point, so we're both in agreement there then. 9/10

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Thirteen Senses - All The Love In Your Hands (Mercury Records Ltd) 19/03/2007

T: Although this single conjures up a deserted tube station on a hot summer evening, and is a pleasant stroll through an empty city centre, I can't help feeling that when the falsetto kicks in, it rather ruins the whole mood. It's a likeable tune but one that could lose its appeal very quickly.

N: I was really disappointed with this comeback single, a track that failed to display the venom that the band had offered on their first lp, and totally agree that this single "could lose its appeal very quickly". 4/10

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This Et Al - Of National Importance (Cargo Records) 19/03/2007

T: The thing I like about This Et Al is that they seem to create some kind of sonic dreamscape - an other worldliness if you like - that few others can hope to emulate. At the same time their lush melodies encapsulate such rich layered guitars and devilish hooks that you'd be some kind of genius fugitive not to get ensnared in their trap. Great single.

N: Some of the comparisons that have been made of this band, I really can't hear to be honest and it's nice to hear that this band have become truely themselves. They are producing a metallic shell around which they are screwing up conventions and mixing up their own special brew of gothic rock. 9/10

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Bromheads Jacket - What If's & Maybes (Marquis Chacha) 19/03/2007

T: How odd. This is a curious hybrid of old school punk - particularly that of Alternative TV - and the modern day observational and vocal talents of Mike Skinner. It's a thunderbolt of a tune that lasts about 2 minutes. Not a bad track, to be fair but somehow a little too weird even for my ears.

N: "Old School Punk" a perfect description of this more than 30 years on. A well observed number, and one that I do not feel would be put down for treading on hallowed ground, more welcomed by a new generation of budding wannabes. 7/10

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The Rapture - Pieces Of The People We Love (Vertigo) 05/03/2007

N: A highly entertaining, well written slice of alt.rock. A band who have recently supported The Killers on their UK tour and fit well with the NME demographic.

T: Well, I prefer this to their previous single, but it does sound bizarrely like a darker Matt Bianco with the seedy undertones of Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" playing in the background. 7/10

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Amos Lee - Shout Out Loud (EMI) 12/03/2007

T: A mellow, restrained number that would perhaps suit the mood if you were lying on the deck of a boat while you sunbathe to the golden rays from above. In any other circumstance it's the equivalent of a snooker match between Cliff Thorburn and Terry Griffiths.

N: Surprisingly this comes across as music which may be termed "chick rock" and certainly rides on the back of a market stimulated by the Jameses - Blunt and Morrison. Not exciting, that's all I can say really, other than that we have this artist's album to critique shortly. 5/10

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The Holloways - Dancefloor (TVT Records) 12/03/2007

T: It's quite a noisy and powerful track but the problem lies in the fact that you've heard about three million similar tracks in the last few years. Relatively catchy indie by numbers, and not even close to the inventive jauntiness of former single "Generator". You can't really dislike "Dancefloor" but it's rather like a friend who gets a little too clingy for your liking.

N: Exactly. A band who just come across like so many others, so that they become indistinguishable from the throng. The band do however lay a good line in lyric writing, although it may take several plays before you truly unpick these. 6/10

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Hayseed Dixie - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'/Holidays In The Sun (Cooking Vinyl) 12/03/2007

T: A download only single, and it's more of the same really. I can't help thinking that Hayseed Dixie are better as a live proposition than a recording artist. Sure they're always entertaining, but as soon as you see what the chosen covers are these days, you know exactly what they're going to sound like. Having said that, "Holidays In The Sun" is turned on its head in such a way that it sounds more like a Dr. Hook Ballad than a punk classic!

N: Well in the case of "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'", certainly an improvement on the original, but that's just personaly preference you understand. The group again sprinkle bluegrass on whatever they touch; however I tend to agree that "Holidays In The Sun" is somewhat of a departure and hardly sees the group doing the Wurzels. 7/10

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Good Shoes - Never Meant To Hurt You (Brille Records) 12/03/2007

N: A band who in their demeanor do seem very with the time. Indie pop, where I can almost see 4 gangley figures standing before an audience - clothes a size too small, lead singer wearing a beaten hat and still using their first guitars, the one's found at the local second hand shop, but still playing very well.

T: There is only so long you can ride on the back of a pig before it starts to squeal. In this instance though both pig and rider alike are thoroughly enjoying the ride. Good Shoes appear to be a more professional version of 'Art Brut' and they're certainly one of most entertaining bands aroud at present. 8/10

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James Yorkston - Woozy With Cider (Domino) 12/03/2007

T: [Tone picks up single] Woah, brilliant this is my favourite track on the album.

N: Should we go on?

T: I think you should play it again from the start and listen to the lyrics.

N: I do believe we've talked about this before and you were right when you commentred you were supprised that it had been decided to release this as a single. Artist power maybe, either way although it's not a floor filler, but is certainly a head filler.

T: Woozy With Cider, is exactly right. It's like how it might feel on a Sunday morning. 9/10

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Sometree - Hands & Arrows (Dance To The Radio) 05/03/2007

N: Late eighties indie, in fact this reminds me of the Blue Nile, the first Blue Nile album I ever bought in fact - '...Walk Accross The Rooftops'. Their music doesn't speak of the cheriest souls, given, but very highly regarded.

T: Right now I feel like I should be doning a big pair of floppy shoes, a red nose and a flower that squirts water...

N: And exactly what point are you making?

T: There isn't one, it's just how I feel. Anyway to me this sounds like a bored Keane having a half hearted fist fight with Elbow, but not quite as exciting.

N: At least I gave them a brilliant build up, I think you might well be in for a fist fight yourself!

T: [Slaps custard pie in Nick's face]

N: Mmmph, I didn't know they're making bubble gum flavoured custard now? First it's tooth paste, I suppose we should have gatered there would be no stopping them. 5/5

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Julie Feeney - Aching (Red Ink Music) 05/03/2007

N: Alright, I'll say this before the 'Repeat' kicks in - where does she envisage this being played? A funeral parlour?

T: To me it sounds like Sophie B Hawkins waking up half naked at 6am on a deserted island.

N: Didn't your psychotherapist tell you about having those dreams?

T: I've stopped seeing them both.

N: Alright then, nice orchestration, it might perhaps be considered a little too slow moving. Nice lyrics, but dreadfully drab, or should that be beautifully drab, I've not yet decided. 5/5

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Towers Of London - I'm A Rat (TVT Records) 12/02/2007

N: This band have got it made. This single was picked up by 'Bravo' some months back, to head a series titled "The Towers Of London" and being given the support slot to "heroes" Gun's N'Roses surely it can't get much better. A single with punk at the fore and slick guitar moves a la Slash, this all added up before I'd even read the press release.

T: The funny thing is I really like most of what I've heard by Towers Of London, but really there's nothing to this one. Little depth and the line "I'm a rat..." repeated two billion times just isn't song writing.

N: I only said their guitar was like Slash!

T: So we agree on that one. 6/10

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